Entertainer Ronnie Corbett dies aged 85

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

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Actor and comedian Ronnie Corbett has died at the age of 85.

A statement from his publicist said: " Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation's best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family.

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

"They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time."

Born Ronald Balfour Corbett in Edinburgh, he and Ronnie Barker rose to fame in the popular BBC comedy sketch show The Two Ronnies.

Corbett also had a starring role in David Frost's The Frost Report.

The Two Ronnies is still hailed as one of the most popular TV programmes of the late 20th century.

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

Ronnie Corbett. Picture from PA.

Corbett recently appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show When The Dog Dies, which saw him reunited with the writers of his hit sitcom Sorry!

Corbett began his acting career at the age of 15, when he starred in a pantomime at his local church youth club.

The versatile comedian also hosted the BBC One game show Small Talk for two years from 1994-96.

Corbett and his wife, Anne Hart, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year.

The much-loved actor was awarded a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours for his services to charity and the entertainment industry.

His wife later revealed that, during a celebration to mark the achievement, he had collapsed in a restaurant and was rushed to hospital.

Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said: "Ronnie Corbettwas a wonderful comic and entertainer. A man of great charm and warmth who brought laughter and joy to millions. He was quite simply one of the true greats of British comedy. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

His Two Ronnies co-star Barker died in 2005.

The pair's partnership dated back to a fortuitous meeting with David Frost, who invitedCorbett to appear in The Frost Report.

Following his success alongside Frost, Barker and John Cleese in The Frost Report, Corbettwent on to enjoy a string of other TV successes including Corbett's Follies and No, That's Me Over Here.